Monday, May 18, 2009

Thankful Days

A Good Day to be Thankful
Morning on the Porch

Clayton Baby Pic

Today is the best weather Arkansas has to offer. Knowing how brutal the summers can be around here, we know when it's essential to capture the fleeting moments...and today is one.

Fresh Air
I will throw open the doors (because Hillcrest Cottage's 86 year old windows are mostly painted shut) and I'll not be concerned about the flies that may enter. I'll let the outside come in, and I will take the inside out.

Porch Time
I have a very long extension cord for my laptop, so I am on my porch listening to the birds celebrate the day.
Dining today will most definitely be alfresco.

Mac Knows
Mac the Labradoodle knows what an awesome day it is. Her snoot is held high taking in all the smells of spring.

Clayton's Birthday
Another reason to celebrate is that my Clayton turns 20 today. When I held this child for the first time, I could never have predicted where he would be today.
Sadly, this is first of many birthdays he will spend away from home. We will see him in June and have already made plans to celebrate then.
This son of mine would not allow any cake or food to celebrate..."Mom, it can get crazy, people come in and leave crumbs all over the floor" (Hello, Me).

Graduation Week at West Point
For now, he is safe and secure behind the gray stone walls of West Point getting up at 4 a.m. to begin "Graduation Week". It's a week full of ceremony, parades, and, on Saturday, hats tossed in the air. (West Point began the tradition of tossing hats after the graduation ceremony. The cadets write notes inside their hats and attach money. Children run onto the field gathering them afterward.)

May 18, 1989
The morning of May 18, 1989 was a very different setting. I was a very different person, certainly not the 'mom-type'. People used to laugh at the thought of me holding a baby.

Child birth class was an interesting experience as I remember filling out a form which on the top read: Mother's Name.
Turning to my husband I said, "Why do they want my mother's name?"

Oh...I'm the mother now.

Loooooong Labor
My first labor pain began in a YWCA board meeting; others followed which kept me up through the night and continued into the next day. I was told in the class that, with my first, I could stay home as long as I could endure the pain.
I wonder if they knew how tough I was?
Twenty four hours later, we decided to check into the hospital. Proud to say he was delivered drug-free...not something I recommend, just something I had wanted to accomplish.

Meet Clayton
A large crowd gathered that evening and 30 hours later at 9:00 p.m. Jeffery Clayton Kinley appeared.

I laugh because we have waited on Clayton ever since.
It's the one quality I am hoping the military will change in him.

My Reward
Twenty years later, I am amazed at the quality of my son... the man. He is so much more than I had ever expected him to be...and we have always dreamed big for this guy we called 'Special Boy' throughout his childhood.
It is so amazing to reap the 'harvest' of many years of plowin', plantin', and waterin'. A child like Clayton is a true reward.

Clayton...if you read this...I love you, buddy. Happy 20th birthday!


  1. Happy Birthday to Clayton!

    I just know I am going to BLINK and my kids will be 20...

  2. What a sweet post :) Happy birthday indeed! Congrats to all of you.

    Meg :)

  3. Wonderful post.

    My older daughter, Shay, turned 28 and got engaged in February. My drug-free (until she got stuck in the birth canal and they had to do an emergency spinal block) was only 23 hours, so you win that one!.

    Labor has an ending; wedding plans are interminable! I recorded my memories of the plot and the proposal before they faded. If you'd like, you can see them here:

    -- Cuz